A CARPENTER who witnessed a colleague fall to his death during his first major project has said the working conditions on site were dangerous.
Josh Brough told Lewes Crown Court yesterday he thought there was “no safe way” to walk around the “open void” that David Clark fell through at the development in Stanmer Park in September 2014.
Paramedics rushed to the aid of Mr Clark, 55, of Dyke Road Avenue, Hove, but he died from his injuries a month later.
Mr Brough told the court that to safely navigate the hole without using a “Youngman Board” workers would have to “balance on the rafters” to get to the other side, which he said would be dangerous to attempt.
Millionaire property developer Mike Holland, 69, of King’s Road, Brighton, and his site foreman George Oakes, 46, of Elm Drive, Hove, are on trial accused of manslaughter by gross negligence, which they both deny.
Health and safety executive inspector Denis Bodger visited the site’s west wing to carry out an inspection on September 16, 2013, and found there were “extremely poor standards” for work being carried out at height, jurors were told.
Six improvement and prohibition notices were issued by Mr Bodger to Holland and Oakes, with one referring to concerns over unprotected openings in the floor, including the first floor of the stable block on site.
Prosecutor Thomas Kark asked Mr Brough whether he was present during a conversation between workers about health and safety on the morning of the accident. He said he knew nothing about it.
Mr Brough told the court that health and safety was discussed on site at least once a month by Oakes and other workers but he could not remember being part of that particular conversation.
Andrew Cooper, who has been a carpenter for 30 years, gave evidence just before Mr Brough.
He spoke of how he heard a “crack” and “ran to the edge and looked down and could see him (Mr Clark) lying on the floor”.
Mr Cooper wiped away tears as he told how he performed CPR on Mr Clark until paramedics arrived to take him to hospital.
Oakes also denies failing to discharge his duty under the Health and Safety Act 1974.
The trial, expected to last four weeks, continues.